Tiger flowers (Tigridia pavonia) grow from tender bulbs that are planted in the spring after danger of frost. Their showy, large flowers are absolutely worth growing, but there are a few tricks to overwintering the bulbs to grow again the following year.
How to Grow Tiger Flowers
Tiger flowers require similar treatment to Gladiolus. Annual lifting, storing, and spring planting are needed, and the bulbs are better freed from the bulblets of the previous season. If you live in an area where the ground doesn't freeze, you can likely leave the bulbs in the soil year-round.
In warm gardens, where the bulbs are left in the ground all the winter, they should be well protected with mulch. Choose the sunniest spot in the garden. A sandy loam lightened by leaf mould is the best to ensure strong and rapid growth.
Tiger flowers bloom from about midsummer through September, or even later. In October the foliage turns yellow as the bulbs ripen; lift by November, bunch them, and hang in an airy shed until they dry.
Once the bulbs are dry, store them in a paper bag in a dry place that doesn't freeze. In spring, once the ground has warmed, plant them in the garden again, planting them at three times the height of the bulb.
Tiger Flower Varieties
Ready to add tiger flowers to your garden? Consider planting a few of the following varieties.
Alba has flowers nearly six inches across, with sepals and petals that are a soft, pretty ivory color, heavily blotched at the bases with carmine red.
Immaculata is a sport from alba, its name referring to the uniform snowy whiteness of the flowers, which are without the conspicuous spots of other varieties. Though normally pure white, the flowers are sometimes tinted with pale green or creamy-yellow.
Tigridia P. Aurea is hybrid of T. Pavonia and T. conchiflora. It produces yellowy-orange flowers, and the small, central basin of the flower is mottled with red, reddish-purple, or chocolate. It produces an abundant number of flowers, and the plant is easy to grow and increases rapidly.
Tigridia P. Grandiflora has large, bright flowers with lush, rounded petals. This variety produces the largest, showiest blooms among tiger flowers.
Tigridia P. Lilacea has flowers with rosy carmine sepals and petals, usually with a bit of variegation at the base of the flower. This is a wonderful variety to grow if you like dramatic, red flowers.
Tigridia P. Rosea has flowers with rose-colored sepals and petals. The bases of each blossom are variegated with a soft yellow tone that contrasts beautifully with the rose color of the petals.
Check Your Local Nursery for Tiger Flower
If there's a variety of Tigridia that suits your growing region, your local nursery should have it in stock each spring. If they do, give this beauty a try. It takes a little more cultivation than the average spring flower, but it is well worth the effort.